Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged fingerprint scanner

Tuscon police department have begun using a new automated fingerprint identification device on the streets. If the police stop you on the streets and you don’t have ID on you, they’re going to take your fingerprints on the spot. Though the police department doesn’t explain why, undercover units are also getting the devices.

The police have not said how long they will keep a person’s fingerprints in their own database or what the collection and disposal process will be.

MorphoIdent‘s brochure says that, “All data is transferred via Bluetooth™ 2.0 or USB to a PC smart-phone, or PDA used to interface with the AFIS system.” It also gives the option to connect “HTTP/HTTPs, SMTP/SMTPs Interface with AFIS Server.” If the police aren’t using HTTPS or SMTPS all the time, then the information being transmitted is not secure.

Download (PDF, 929KB)

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Professor Margaret Hu’s important new article, “Biometric ID Cybersurveillance” (Indiana Law Journal), carefully and chillingly lays out federal and state government’s increasing use of biometrics for identification and other purposes. These efforts are poised to lead to a national biometric ID with centralized databases of our iris, face, and fingerprints. Such multimodal biometric IDs ostensibly provide greater security from fraud than our current de facto identifier, the social security number. As Professor Hu lays out, biometrics are, and soon will be, gatekeepers to the right to vote, work, fly, drive, and cross into our borders. Professor Hu explains that the FBI’s Next Generation Identification project will institute:

a comprehensive, centralized, and technologically interoperable biometric database that spans across military and national security agencies, as well as all other state and federal government agencies.Once complete, NGI will strive to centralize whatever biometric data is available on all citizens and noncitizens in the United States and abroad, including information on fingerprints, DNA, iris scans, voice recognition, and facial recognition data captured through digitalized photos, such as U.S. passport photos and REAL ID driver’s licenses.The NGI Interstate Photo System, for instance, aims to aggregate digital photos from not only federal, state, and local law enforcement, but also digital photos from private businesses, social networking sites, government agencies, and foreign and international entities, as well as acquaintances, friends, and family members.

Read more of the opinion and make sure to download the paper.

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CNN‘s Richard Quest takes a look at new technology that could make airport security checkpoints safer and faster.

The MorphoPass system aims to get everyone through security quicker, while providing high quality, realistic security. The MorphoPass claims that it will make security lines faster with an all in one system. You swipe your hand, which checks your fingerprints as well as chemical residue. Then, you walk up to a machine that checks for homemade explosives as well as all the usual things a metal detector checks for. Safran, the company behind the technology expects to have this system in place by 2016.

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It has been said many times that using biometric scanners as your only means of security is doomed to fail. They have been beaten before and, now, Brazilian doctors have devised a way to bypass biometric scanners using fake fingers.

Thaune Nunes Ferreira, a doctor at the hospital in the town of Ferraz de Vasconcelos, greater São Paulo, was arrested with six fake fingers with the fingerprints of six other people. She is accused of using prosthetic fingers to fool the biometric employee attendance device.

The town’s mayor, Acir Fillo, has also asked five employees of the medical service said to have been involved to step aside, while the local council has launched a public inquiry into the matter.

Brazil’s ministry of health has said it will launch an inquiry of its own into the local hospital.

Mr Fillo says that the police investigation showed that some 300 public employees in the town, whom he described as ”an army of ghosts”, had been receiving pay without going to work.

Bankok Post says that there is video footage of Ferreira clocking in with the fake fingers.

Globo television showed footage of a doctor touching her finger to the device, then using two fake digits to do the same for colleagues, and taking delivery of slips of paper indicating they had in fact clocked in to work.

That way it looked like there were doctors on duty when there was just one.

Another television network said it was the head of the emergency room that ran the scam and that his daughter had not worked a day in three years but got paid all the time.

Ferreira says that she was forced to clock in for other doctors as it was a condition of her employment.

The Province added:

Ferreira confessed to using different fake fingers bearing the prints of 11 fellow doctors and 20 nurses in order to pretend they were showing up to work five overnight shifts each month, instead of just one, police said.

Ferreira also said the staff at the Ferraz Vasconcelos Hospital paid $2,400 per month to participate.

The problem with these machines is that there is a trust factor. It would not have taken much time to check, for example, to see if the daughter of the emergency room head was actually working. Blindly believing that biometric scanners will solve your problems is just asking for the massive amount of fraud and abuse that you receive. Biometric scanners, practically, are only useful in highly secured and controlled environments where someone is there to monitor the person using the scanner. Used anywhere else and they become a broken system rife with abuse.

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As another school year begins, many districts are seeing a push towards the use of biometrics to track students throughout their school day. Despite the fact that these systems can easily be thwarted, school administrations believe that biometric tracking will only be a benefit to the school district and not invasions of privacy.

Read the rest of my post at The Daily Censored.

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